§ 50–301.25. Accessible public and private vehicles-for-hire.
(b)(1) Within 90 days of October 22, 2012, the DFHV shall establish a Vehicle-for-Hire Accessibility Advisory Committee to advise the DFHV on how to make public and private vehicle-for-hire service in the District more accessible to the disabled.
(2)(A) The Committee shall include representatives from the following:
(i) The Office of Disability Rights;
(ii) The Office of Human Rights;
(iii) The Commission on Persons with Disabilities;
(iv) The disability advocacy community;
(v) Taxicab companies, associations, or operators;
(vi) The Office of the Chief Financial Officer;
(vii) The Department of For-Hire Vehicles; and
(viii) Private vehicle-for-hire companies and private vehicle-for-hire operators, as those terms are defined in § 50-301.03(16B) and (16C), respectively.
(B) At least half of the Committee shall be comprised of members or representatives of the disability advocacy community.
(2A)(A) A chairperson, who shall serve for a term of 2 years, shall be elected from among the members or representatives of the disability advocacy community at the first meeting of the Committee and every 2 years thereafter.
(B) The Committee shall meet, at a minimum, on a quarterly basis, at times to be determined by the chairperson of the Committee at the first meeting of the Committee.
(C) The DFHV shall provide the Committee with reasonable and accessible accommodations for holding meetings and an annual operating budget, which shall include funds to maintain a website where the Committee shall provide a public listing of members, meeting notices, and meeting minutes.
(4) On or before September 30, 2013, and each year thereafter, the Committee shall prepare and make publicly available a report on the accessibility of the vehicle-for-hire industry in the District and how it can be further improved.
(c)(1) Each taxicab company with 20 or more taxicabs in its fleet as of July 1, 2012, or anytime thereafter, shall dedicate a portion of its taxi fleet as follows:
(A) At least 6% of each taxicab fleet shall be wheelchair-accessible by December 31, 2014.
(B) At least 12% of each taxicab fleet shall be wheelchair-accessible by December 31, 2016.
(C) At least 20% of each taxicab fleet shall be wheelchair-accessible by December 31, 2018.
(D) Based on the recommendations of the Committee, which shall be given great weight, the DFHV shall increase the requirements in subparagraphs (A), (B), and (C) of this paragraph to ensure that the District’s taxicab system meets the legal requirements and need for accessible taxicab service.
(2) The DFHV may withhold the renewal of licenses of taxicab companies or associations that do not meet the requirements of this subsection.
(3) With the Committee and the Chief Financial Officer, the DFHV shall develop a program to provide grants, loans, and other types of financial assistance and incentives to applicants and owners of licensed taxicabs to offset the cost of buying, retrofitting, maintaining, and operating a vehicle for use as a wheelchair-accessible taxicab.
(c-1)(1) Each public or private vehicle-for-hire company shall maintain records for at least 3 years that include:
(A) The total number of fulfilled requests made to the company for wheelchair-accessible service, including the zip code where each request originated and terminated, and the manner in which each trip was requested; and
(B) The total number of instances in which an individual requested a trip for wheelchair-accessible service and an operator was not able to fulfill the request, including the zip code where each request originated, and the manner in which each trip was requested.
(2) Each public or private vehicle-for-hire company shall submit the records described in paragraph (1) of this subsection to the DFHV on an annual basis.
(3) Any records disclosed to the DFHV under this subsection shall not be disclosed to a third party by the DFHV, including through a request submitted pursuant to subchapter II of Chapter 5 of Title 2.
(d) The DFHV shall seek to partner with the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority, the Office of the State Superintendent of Education, and any other governmental entity to provide accessible transportation services using taxicabs, and shall report to the Council within 18 months of October 22, 2012, on the status of such agreements and the estimated cost savings from such agreements.
(e) All operators who operate wheelchair-accessible public vehicles-for-hire shall receive training in how to properly use the equipment and work with disabled passengers. The training shall be coordinated through the Department of For-Hire Vehicles or taxicab companies.
(f) Wheelchair-accessible public vehicles-for-hire shall:
(1) Accommodate wheelchair and personal mobility devices up to 30 inches in width;
(2) Have rear-entry or side-entry ramps or lifts that enable a passenger and operator to easily and comfortably gain access to the interior of the vehicle upon entry and exterior upon drop off;
(3) Have safety devices to secure the wheelchair or personal mobility device to the vehicle and protect the passenger; and
(4) Display the international wheelchair insignia or other insignia approved by the DFHV that identifies the vehicle as a wheelchair-accessible vehicle in a minimum of 2 prominent locations on the exterior of the vehicle.
(g)(1) Except as provided in paragraph (2) of this subsection, every licensed taxicab operator accepting fares shall:
(A) Stop and inquire of a prospective passenger in a wheelchair or personal mobility device attempting to street-hail a taxicab whether the passenger wishes to ride in that taxicab or, if the taxicab operator is not driving a wheelchair-accessible taxicab and is affiliated with a taxicab company or association that offers such services, wishes to have the taxicab operator contact a dispatch service to send a wheelchair-accessible taxicab; and
(B) Grant priority to requests for service from passengers who use wheelchairs, and once dispatched to a call from a passenger using a wheelchair shall not accept any other fare while traveling to the fare; provided, that in the absence of a request for service to a passenger who uses a wheelchair, a wheelchair-accessible taxicab operator may transport any person.
(2) A taxicab operator shall not be subject to the requirements of this subsection while transporting a fare or responding to a dispatched call for service.
(h) Any individual, company, or affiliation that owns, leases, rents, or operates wheelchair-accessible taxicabs subsidized by the District shall:
(1) Operate wheelchair-accessible taxicabs equipped with dispatch technology and maintain the capacity to communicate with every wheelchair-accessible taxicab operating under its service;
(2) Grant priority to requests for service from passengers who use wheelchairs, and once dispatched to a call from a passenger using a wheelchair, shall not accept any other fare while traveling to the fare; provided, that in the absence of a request for service to a passenger who uses a wheelchair, a wheelchair-accessible taxicab operator may transport any person;
(3) Promptly dispatch a wheelchair-accessible taxicab in response to a wheelchair-accessible taxicab service request. If a wheelchair-accessible vehicle cannot be dispatched within 20 minutes, dispatch shall call another company with wheelchair-accessible vehicles to handle the request, and contact the customer with the name and telephone number of the dispatch service for the available wheelchair-accessible taxicab. If no wheelchair-accessible taxicabs are currently available to respond to a customer’s request, dispatch shall notify the customer and record the customer’s name and phone number and the names of the other dispatch services contacted; and
(4) Record all requests for wheelchair-accessible taxicab service, noting the date and time of the request for service, the service address, the vehicle number dispatched, and the time that the wheelchair-accessible taxicab was dispatched to respond to the call.
(i) A taxicab operator of a wheelchair-accessible taxicab shall not deny a dispatch request for wheelchair accessible service unless the taxicab is unavailable to provide service due to already being engaged. The DFHV shall enforce this provision through rulemaking.